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Pleas for more police in West Baltimore

A call for more officers, foot patrols
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Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 17:40:51-04
In the year since Freddie Gray's death, there are more makeshift memorials, more murders and in the minds of many, less cops.

"Nothing's changed. Everything is still the same,” said Larry Terry of the Lafayette Square community. “I see fewer police cars in the neighborhood."

"As far as foot patrols, bicycles (or) anything like that, they don't do that around here,” said James Yates, “and I've been living up here for some time."

It is a sad reality that has left community leaders appealing for help.

"We had one homicide about a week and a half ago. We had a prayer vigil of five people that got shot in the middle of the day," said Marvin "Doc" Cheatham who heads up the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association. "We don't see police and that's the issue for today is that the communities here---Robert Coleman Neighborhood Association, Fulton Heights Community Association, Matthew Henson and Ashco East---all of us connect by North Avenue. Since April, we have seen very little of the police.  911 calls basically are not answered."

Last year, Penn/North became the so-called epicenter of the riots after looters burned down a CVS store.

But Cheatham says 14 other businesses took the brunt of the looting three blocks west of there, and some remain closed today.

He's painting a picture of a forlorn and forgotten section of one of the city's toughest neighborhoods, where money and programs are in short supply, and so now are the police.

"We're not asking for a state of emergency, but we're saying we need to have that discussion. We think you're outnumbered,” said Cheatham, “I can take you almost three blocks in any direction, and you will see drugs being sold right now. This happens every day in this community. The police ride right past them."

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